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Bullpen Report: Finding a little relief

Senior Fantasy Writer
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I've moved enough in the past decade to know that it stinks. The packing, lifting, unpacking -- there's no real fun element to it. But there is one thing I look forward to every time: opening up the box of "Miscellany." For me, it's usually things like playing cards, some old CDs, stickers featuring DC superheroes, maybe some type of Star Wars thing I won on ebay, and a bunch of other random fun stuff that I don't really need to own, but enjoy.

So in the spirit of the Miscellany box, I give you this week's Bullpen Report. Just a bunch of stuff thrown into a box that doean't fall into any specific category.

Rex Brothers is a must-add

With Rafael Betancourt likely done for the season, Rex Brothers will re-assume closing duties in Colorado. The 25-year-old lefty has a 1.51 ERA and 1.16 WHIP on the season, with 11 saves and a 9.4 K/9. Brothers won't have the kind of "run him up the rankings!" ascent that Kenley Jansen got when he was named closer, but the upside is very real -- Brothers can keep his ERA and WHIP low while racking up saves and getting about a strikeout per inning.

Tommy Hunter is closing in on relevance

We've seen this before -- an incumbent closer trips up a little bit, rights himself in the 7th and 8th innings, then returns and is dominant for the rest of the season. The best example I can think of is Brandon League in 2011. Currently, we're looking at something similar from Jim Johnson, just much later in the season (League would always run into trouble in May, for some reason).

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Enter Tommy Hunter, a converted starter who is enjoying a 2.63 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in his first full season as a reliever. The "throw-in" in the Chris Davis trade with the Rangers, Hunter got the save for the Orioles on Wednesday, ahead of deadline acquisition Francisco Rodriguez.

If Johnson stays out of the saves mix for any amount of time, Hunter -- who saw his average fastball velocity rise from 91.6 mph last season to 95.8 this year -- will likely be the next in line. He comes with some risk (most notably, Johnson reclaiming his job), but is worth a gamble in AL-only formats and Roto leagues where a team is badly in need of saves.

Joel Peralta has taken the lead in holds

With Mark Melancon now closing games for the Pirates, his lead in the holds category was bound to disappear; Melancon is now tied for third in the majors with 26 holds. Your new leader is Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta, with 31. David Robertson is in second with 30.

Peralta and Robertson's hold totals actually have some significance -- the single-season leader in holds is Luke Gregerson, with 40. Peralta and Robertson both play for teams that are winning, meaning that, with a very good month, they could challenge the record. It's not likely -- for as good as the Yankees have been lately, Robertson has just six holds so far this month, and only two pitchers have double-digit holds in any month this season (Jesse Crain and Peralta, both in May) -- but it might be a fun category to keep an eye on as the season winds down.

Your hold leaders for August are...

Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 7 holds
Yoervis Medina, Mariners, 7
Joe Smith, Indians, 7
Ronald Belisario, Dodgers, 6
Matt Belisle, Rockies, 6
J.J. Hoover, Reds, 6
David Robertson, Yankees, 6
Jared Burton, Twins, 5
David Carpenter, Braves, 5
Tim Collins, Royals, 5
Charlie Furbush, Mariners, 5

Strikeout Kings

While the list of August leaders in K/9 boasts many familiar names, there are a few that may catch the attention of Roto owners looking to lower WHIP and ERA while keeping Ks up. Or even for the owner in a Categories league where K/9 is a category.

August leaders, K/9 (min. 5 IP)

Francisco Rodriguez, Orioles, 16.43 K/9
Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 15.43
Danny Farquhar, Mariners, 14.46
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 14.40
Rich Hill, Indians 14.40
Charlie Leesman, White Sox, 14.40
Grant Balfour, Athletics 13.50
Mike Gonzalez, Brewers, 13.50
David Carpenter, Braves, 13.50
Craig Kimbrel, Braves, 13.09

Top of the SPARP heap

For those of you new to Bullpen Report, SPARP is an acronym for "Starting Pitcher As a Relief Pitcher" -- one of those Kris Medlen types who can be plugged into the RP slot in standard H2H formats to take advantage of the points windfall from starters. Over the last 21 days, there have been some interesting SPARP performers in the Fantasy game. The top SPARPs in that span:

Alex Wood, Braves, 79.5 Points in the last 21 days
Andrew Albers, Twins, 73.5
Kris Medlen, Braves, 69.5
Bruce Chen, Royals, 65.6
Tyson Ross, Padres, 63.5
Joe Kelly, Cardinals, 62.5
Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners, 60.5
Andre Rienzo, White Sox, 52.5
Tony Cingrani, Reds, 52
Andrew Cashner, Padres, 46.5

I know it's the easy way out, but Iwakuma is probably the most attractive of this group, followed by Wood, who still has plenty of innings left on his arm this season. Medlen is 3 1/3 innings away from equaling his total from last year (which was also a career-high) and hasn't started a game since Aug. 13. He also averaged seven hits per game over his last eight starts. Cingrani has only thrown 129 innings so far this season, which is still below last year's total of 146.

Rienzo is probably the most intriguing of the group. While he doesn't have these blow-you-away minor league numbers, he had been good the last four seasons, and carried a 9.7 K/9 over 543 2/3 minor league innings. Before his call-up, he went on a nice run of games, lowering his WHIP and ERA. And through his first five major league starts, Rienzo has a 3.56 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. It shouldn't cause anyone to run out and add him, but Rienzo could be a shrewd add in a deeper league for his two-start week.

One last thing ...

With Steve Delabar on the DL, I went ahead and grabbed Brett Cecil in a couple AL-only leagues where I could use saves. Cecil, like Tommy Hunter, has found a new life in relief, and after a rocky July has come back around to his early-season self in August, with a 2.57 ERA and 10 strikeouts in seven innings.

Couple this with Casey Janssen's 7.94 ERA in August (and 5.40 ERA dating back to the start of July), and you have a very speculative play on late-season saves, should Janssen need to be rested and Delabar stays on the DL.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS .

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Player News
Mariners demote Jesus Montero to Triple-A
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:58 pm ET) The Mariners sent first baseman Jesus Montero down to Triple-A on Wednesday, reports The News Tribune. Montero is hitting .200 with two home runs and nine RBI in 75 at-bats.

Diamondbacks recall RP Keith Hessler from Triple-A
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:54 pm ET) The Diamondbacks have recalled left-hander Keith Hessler from Triple-A Reno. Hessler has appeared in eight games in relief for the D-Backs in 2015, and he carries a hefty 15.19 ERA in 5 1/3 innings.


A's RP Evan Scribner has torn lat muscle, will miss rest of season
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(2:13 pm ET) Athletics reliever Evan Scribner will miss more than a few games. The right-hander has been diagnosed with a torn lat muscle and will be out for the rest of the 2015 season.

Scribner left the game Monday with what was described as shoulder soreness. It is unclear whether the two injuries are related.

In his fourth season with the A's, Scribner went 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA in 54 relief appearances. 


Cubs' Kyle Schwarber scratched Wednesday with rib soreness
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:48 pm ET) Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber was scratched from Wednesday's lineup against the Reds due to right rib soreness. Schwarber had been slated to start in left field and bat second, but he'll sit this one out, with Chris Coghlan taking over in left.

Schwarber said he experienced pain while taking swings in the batting cage. He will he a precautionary MRI.

Schwarber homered in Tuesday's ballgame, but he's hitting just .189 with 14 strikeouts and four walks over his last 10 games.


Angels recall 1B/OF Efren Navarro from Triple-A
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:42 pm ET) The Angels have recalled outfielder/first baseman Efren Navarro prior to Wednesday's game against the A's. Navarro will be with the Angels for the fifth time this season, as he has been going back-and-forth to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Overall, Navarro has played 37 games for the Angels in 2015. He has hit .260 with four doubles and five RBI.


A's option pitcher Cody Martin to Triple-A
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:19 pm ET) The Athletics sent pitcher Cody Martin down to Triple-A on Wednesday, the team announced.

Martin only lasted three innings after surrendering five runs on six hits in Tuesday's start. He is 2-4 with a 6.57 ERA over 24 2/3 innings.


Marlins SS Adeiny Hechavarria leaves game with hamstring injury
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:35 pm ET) Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria left Wednesday's game against the Braves in the second inning with left hamstring tightness.

Hechavarria reached on a bunt single with one out in the second, and was seen stretching out his hamstring. He was immediately lifted for a pinch runner.

Hechavarria is being considered day-to-day at this point.


Marlins promote RP Raudel Lazo from Double-A on Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:21 am ET) The Marlins announced that they have recalled pitcher Raudel Lazo from Double-A Jacksonville on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old left-hander was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA in 26 relief appearances between Class-A Jupiter and Jacksonville in 2015. He also posted a 44:9 K:BB ratio in his 34 1/3 innings of work. He has never pitched in the big leagues after being signed by the Marlins back in 2012.


Dodgers bring RP Joel Peralta off 15-day DL on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:57 am ET) The Dodgers activated reliever Joel Peralta from the 15-day disabled list, according to the team's transactions page. Peralta had been out since Aug. 11 with a neck injury.

Peralta has made just 25 appearances in 2015, his first season with the Dodgers. He missed time earlier this season with a pinched nerve in his neck.


Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton might start rehab assignment Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:41 am ET) Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is expected to test out his surgically repaired wrist by swinging a bat on Wednesday. 

If Stanton reports no issues, he could play in a rehab game for Class A Jupiter on Wednesday night, according to MLB.com. 

Stanton, of course, has been sidelined for over two months with a broken wrist. The team had been hopeful for his return on Friday, but there has been no word as to whether that will happen or not.


 
 
 
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